MANAGER OF THE YEAR:
AL: Terry Francona, Boston Red Sox. Talk about a guy who has found a way to rally his team and field a winner despite unforeseen circumstances! Currently on the DL are Josh Beckett, Clay Bucholz, Junichi Tazawa, Manny Delcarmen, Victor Martinez, Jason Varitek, Dustin Pedroia, Jed Lowrie, Jacoby Ellsbury, Mike Lowell and Jeremy Hermida. (And we're upset that Nathan and Morneau are there...) Not only does Martinez go down but so does his backup (Varitek). Not only does Pedroia go down but so does HIS backup (Lowrie). But they keep winning in the toughest division in baseball. It will be a travesty if Francona isn't rewarded.
NL: Buddy Black, San Diego Padres. Black has taken a team that was expected to be in complete rebuilding mode, including neverending speculation about where his star players like Adrian Gonzalez and Heath Bell would be traded to by the end of July, and shown us one of the best teams in 2010 baseball. With a team full of young talent like Tony Gwynn Jr., Kyle Blanks, and Mat Latos to name a few, he has harnessed their youth and given San Diego something to cheer about.
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR:
AL: Brennan Boesch, Detroit Tigers. At the beginning of the year, this young slugger was on nobody's radar. He could barely sniff top prospect rankings and was unlikely to crack a Tigers roster already dangerously overloaded with youth for a team trying to compete. Boesch posted solid but unspectacular numbers over his career in the minors (but he did have 28 HRs last year in AA), and has taken the Majors by storm posting a .342/.397/.593 slash line over 65 games and looks to be a mainstay here to torment the Central for years.
NL: Mat Latos, San Diego Padres. 3rd in the NL in Wins and 7th in ERA, Latos is simply solid in every statistical category. 8.4 K/9 and only 2.4 BB/9 with a WHIP of 0.966 and only 9 home runs allowed in 106 innings. Not only is he my hands down ROY so far but he's in consideration for the Cy Young.
AL: David Price, Tampa Bay Rays. Probably the easiest choice of any of these mid-season awards. Leading in Wins and ERA, Price is dominant across the board. With 100 K's in over 115 innings pitched, he is a consensus choice and leads a staff of talented Tampa Bay pitchers as easily the most dominant pitcher in the American League.
NL: Roy Halladay, Philadelphia Phillies. This is a much tougher choice than the AL. Ubaldo Jimenez, Adam Wainwright, Mat Latos, Tim Hudson, Clayton Kershaw, Tim Lincecum and so many more are begging for attention. But Doc is the cream of the crop. 4th in ERA (2.19), 2nd in K's (128), and 3rd in Wins (10) is reason enough.
MOST VALUABLE PLAYER:
AL: Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers. It pains me to admit it, but he is probably the best hitter in baseball this year. Tied for 1st in all of the Majors with a .346 average, 2nd in homeruns (22), and 1st overall in RBIs (77) you couldn't reasonably argue that anyone else is more deserving.
NL: Joey Votto, Cincinnati Reds. This one isn't so clear cut. I was tempted to think someone along the lines of Albert Pujols or David Wright, but Joey Votto is really the only person consistently near the top of every statistical category. Wright is too deficient in the power game this year. Pujols is too deficient in average this year. Votto is having an amazing season and spearheading a great year by the Reds. He's the most deserving player in my book.
New York Yankees over Detroit Tigers
Texas Rangers over Boston Red Sox
Atlanta Braves over San Francisco Giants
St. Louis Cardinals over San Diego Padres
Texas Rangers over New York Yankees
Atlanta Braves over St. Louis Cardinals
Atlanta Braves over Texas Rangers (4-2)